Our Aims and Objectives

We are the UK association for all those who research, study and teach global development issues

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What is Development Studies

What is development studies and decolonising development.

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Our Members

We have around 1,000 members, made up of individuals and around 40 institutions

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Find out about our constitution, how we are run and meet our Council

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Meet our Council members and other staff who support the running of DSA

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The DSA Conference is an annual event which brings together the development studies community

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Our conference this year is themed "Social justice and development in a polarising world"

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Past Conferences

Find out about our previous conferences

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Study Groups

Our Study Groups offer a chance to connect with others who share your areas of interest

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Students and ECRs

Students and early career researchers are an important part of our community

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Our book series with OUP and our relationship with other publishers

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North-South Research

A series of workshops exploring North-South interdisciplinary research with key messages and reports

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Membership Directory

Find out who our members are, where they are based and the issues they work on

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Meet the Council: Indrajit Roy

DSA Council member Indrajit Roy is Professor at the University of York’s Department of Politics and International Relations. 

In addition to his teaching and research work, Indajit is a powerhouse of output. He has just published Audacious Hope: An archive of how democracy is being saved in India, a book documenting how Indians are pushing back against the erosion of their democracy. He has also just published a co-edited open access book, Rising power, limited influence: The politics of Chinese investments in Europe and the Liberal International Order which inverts the conventional focus in development studies by exploring what happens when China, a formerly (semi-) colonised “developing” country invests in Europe, the archetypical “developed” continent. And he is working with former DSA president Samuel Hickey on a textbook on Global Development Politics. 

Around all this, Indrajit also finds time to play an active role on the DSA Council and is engaged with DSA’s Politics and Political Economy study group. Indrajit’s first encounter with the DSA was in 2016 when he was an ESRC Future Research Leader Fellowship holder at Oxford Department of International Development – the same year that Oxford hosted the DSA conference. As part of the university’s conference Convening Team, Indrajit found the panels and conversations useful. 

“I really enjoyed the experience of being part of the Convening Team and found the panels and conversations incredibly enriching,” he said. “I felt that the people at the DSA were people with whom I could ‘hang out’ if you know what I mean! When the opportunity to become a Council Member came up in 2021, I was really excited to contribute to it, and work with colleagues from whom I have learnt so much.”

Indrajit’s research and teaching strengthen critical approaches to ordering global development politics. He describes himself as an interdisciplinary researcher and academic. “My first degree was in history, my taught postgraduation was in a subject that was called ‘social work’, my doctoral degree was conferred by a department of international development and I am now a professor in a department of politics and international relations. I also happily collaborate across disciplines. So, I guess that would make me rather ‘undisciplined’!”

Indrajit’s time as a researcher was broken up by a seven-year stint with International NGOs (INGOs) in India. Working across these sectors he observed that donors, charities, policy researchers were all speaking the language of “International Development”.

“When I started my D.Phil at Oxford in 2008, you could see the extent to which the vocabulary of “international development” prevailed,” he reflected. “But you could also discern discomfort with the idea that the global North had all the resources and knowhow and the global South was the passive recipient of this knowhow, leading many to be sympathetic to “post-development” ideas which suggested that the idea of development was a Northern conspiracy to keep the South in thrall. So, you had two quite polarising tendencies- one of “international development” and the other of “post-development” that by and large framed the field.”

“Since then, the world has changed. Indeed, some of these changes were already unfolding just as I was starting the D. Phil. Their contours have become clearer over the last few years. The Financial Crisis, the rise of the BRICS, the exposure of the blatant racism in the North, an interconnected world thanks to the circulation of people and technology, and growing awareness of climate change have meant that people no longer have patience for EITHER the perspective that development is all about the great things the North does for the South OR that development is a Northern conspiracy to keep the South poor. Vibrant debates on “decolonising development” have led to a growing understanding of the “global” dimension of development.“

Indrajit has been recognised for his teachings and currently teaches on the topics of rising powers at undergraduate level and politics of the poor at postgraduate levels. He says for those teaching in fields as complex as development studies,  it’s incredibly important to stay grounded but also not shy away from provoking students to think about the big questions. 

“Case studies are important so we can discuss specific trajectories of countries’” says Indrajit. “But we must use our knowledge of cases and countries to shape broader questions in the field. I’ve always encouraged students to use their knowledge of cases to challenge some of the common assumptions of the field and ASK new questions. I don’t want students to answer standard questions like “How did China escape poverty?” or “Why did India implement economic reforms when it did?”. Rather, I want them to think about the QUESTIONS that arise from China’s efforts to deal with poverty or India’s strategy of implementing economic reforms. 

What would Indrajit’s advice be for the next generation following in his footsteps? “Ask big questions, collaborate across disciplines and be generous in mentoring early career colleagues,” he offers as practical advice. 

One of the ways that DSA supports Indrajit’s advice is through the events and conferences where students and early career researchers can collaborate. Indajit will be at the DSA2024 conference taking place June 26 to 28 at SOAS, University of London. You can hear Indrajit at Panel R06, where he is convening a roundtable on Global development politics.